EMT This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      I was tossed around in the back of the ambulance a few times before I thought to fasten my seatbelt as we careened down the road, sirens blaring and lights flashing. My legs jittered uncontrollably as I fumbled with boxes of gloves - latex, non-latex, small, medium, large - and passed various combinations out to the rest of the crew. Despite my jumpy nerves, I felt a thrill. Here I was, on my first real call after three months of training.

We pulled up to the scene and I jumped out, feeling official and important at having arrived in such style, only to trip over the automatic step that popped from underneath the rig. Recovering quickly, I grabbed the necessary bags, thankful that I had at least remembered this. As we approached the patient, apprehension took center stage again.

The chaotic scene was overwhelming but the two EMTs with me were prepared. One immediately began treating the patient while the other calmed the frantic family. I was asked to give breaths to the patient while an EMT did chest compressions. CPR class had been a requirement, a boring and obligatory chore, but never had I imagined I’d be using my new skills so soon - or ever, for that matter.

Nonetheless I agreed, my excitement and nervousness vanishing as I felt the gravity of the situation. This person’s life was in my hands. For the next 20 minutes the EMT and I counted breaths and compressions, occasionally switching positions. We continued administering CPR the whole rough ride to the hospital and I grew increasingly alarmed since the patient was not responding. The EMTs, though concerned and efficient, were more detached - they had seen it all before. Amid the shrill beeps of the multiple monitors hooked up to the patient, the sirens pierced the night.

Arriving at the emergency room, we knew it was over. My first call, my first chance to save someone, and I had failed. I was horrified. A perfect stranger had died before my eyes, under my care. The doctors consoled me and though I felt responsible, I soon realized that there was nothing we could have done to change the outcome. Our CPR technique had been sound but the reality was that the chances of revival after a cardiac arrest are very slim.

As the initial shock wore off, a strong motivation to ride again replaced it. Watching life turn into death is not an easily forgotten experience, but it can breed a thirst to try again and perhaps the next time to save a life. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the chance hasn’t yet happened. The worst call I’ve gotten since that first day is a sprained ankle.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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pkc said...
Feb. 11, 2009 at 10:10 pm
Hey, this waqs good. It could have been longer, but it was still fairly well written. Its explained in its form of prose that just as soon as the reader gets into the story, its over.
 
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